Rex Nielson, Director of the Humanities Center
Rex P. Nielson is Professor of Spanish and Portuguese and Director of the BYU Humanities Center. His interests include literary and cultural studies, especially in relation to the Portuguese-speaking world. He has taught all levels of Portuguese language as well as a variety of courses on Luso-Afro-Brazilian literature and culture, as well as interdisciplinary courses for Latin American Studies, Africana Studies, Global Women’s Studies, and the BYU Honors Program. His research interests focus on (1) ecocriticism and environmental ethics in Brazil and the global south, (2) race and gender in Luso-Brazilian culture, (3) language and literature pedagogy, and (4) translation studies. He has served in various professional organizations, including as the President of the American Portuguese Studies Association (APSA) (2019–2020). Rex and his wife, Natalie, an adjunct professor in the Department of Comparative Arts and Letters, live in Provo and are the proud parents of five children.
Bobbe May, Assistant Director of the Humanities Center
Bobbe May loves the mission and vision of BYU and is excited about how the College of Humanities is enabling students, faculty and staff to thrive. She did work as an undergraduate at BYU and Southern Virginia University (SVU), ultimately graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Business Management and Leadership from SVU. She went on to receive a Master’s of Public Health: Health Education and Promotion from Utah State University. She and her husband have many passion projects – including raising their three young children, making and promoting fine art, running (lots of it!), and playing strategy board games. On an academic level she is especially interested in women’s health, building and strengthening communities, nutrition, and qualitative research methods. She hopes to pursue a PhD and create her own women’s health/community health initiative.
Trent received his BA and MA in English from BYU and a PhD in English from Stanford. He studies the emergence of affective-aesthetic categories like mood, attitude, and atmosphere in the cultural productions of Britain and other parts of Europe between the late-seventeenth and early-nineteenth centuries, culminating in Romantic-era explorations of the extra-semantic properties of language. Trent enjoys writing and teaching others how to write, whether critically or creatively. He lives in Salt Lake City with his wife and one-year-old son.
Brian Price, Three-Year Faculty Fellow (2022 – 2024)
Brian Price (Ph.D. University of Texas at Austin) is Professor of Spanish American Literature and Culture at Brigham Young University. His areas of scholarly interest include 20th and 21st-century Mexican literary, film, and cultural studies; Latin America’s historical novel; comparative literature; and rock and roll. He is the author of Cult of Defeat in Mexico’s Historical Fiction: Failure, Trauma, and Loss (Palgrave, 2012), editor of Asaltos a la historia: Reimaginando la ficción histórica hispanoamericana (Ediciones Eón, 2014), and coeditor of TransLatin Joyce: Global Transmissions in Ibero-American Literature (Palgrave, 2014) and The Lost Cinema of Mexico: From Lucha Libre to Cine Familiar and Other Churros (U Florida P, 2022). He is currently completing two book projects about the influence of rock music on Mexican literature and film.
Paul Westover, Three-Year Faculty Fellow (2022 – 2024)
Paul Westover joined the BYU English Department in 2008. He specializes in British Romantic literature, literary geography, and the history of literary tourism. Paul is the author of Necromanticism: Traveling to Meet the Dead, 1750–1860 (2012) and co-editor, with Ann Wierda Roland, of Transatlantic Literature and Author Love in the Nineteenth Century (2016). He is also one of the lead editors for two large digital projects: William Wordsworth’s Guide to the Lakes: a Romantic Circles Electronic Edition (2012, revised 2020) and Dorothy Wordsworth’s Lake District (forthcoming).
Cherice Montgomery Three-Year Faculty Fellow (2023 – 2026)
Cherice Montgomery (Associate Professor of Spanish Pedagogy) coordinates the Spanish Teaching Major at BYU. Her work explores the creative potential of design-based pedagogies and 21st century literacies for inspiring change in world language education. Cherice’s current research investigates the nature and design of compelling learning experiences in immersive contexts such as Dual Language Immersion (DLI), Playable Case Study simulations (PCS), and Project-Based Language Learning (PBLL). She has published in journals such as Foreign Language Annals, Die Unterrichtspraxis, Journal of Critical Inquiry into Curriculum and Instruction, and The Language Educator. She serves on the NFLRC Advisory Board and frequently facilitates workshops and webinars. Cherice has been honored with several awards for excellence in teaching, including the UFLA Higher Education Teacher of the Year, the Douglas K. Christensen Teaching & Learning Faculty Fellowship, the ACTFL-NYSAFLT Anthony Papalia Award for Excellence in Teacher Education, and the BYU Faculty Women’s Association Teaching Award. Beyond academia, Cherice can be found birdwatching, cooking, or West Coast Swing dancing.
Sara Phenix, Three-Year Faculty Fellow (2023 – 2026)
Sara Phenix is Associate Professor of French. She earned her PhD in 2013 at the University of Pennsylvania. Her work has appeared in Nineteenth-Century French Studies, Dix-Neuf, and Romance Notes. Her current book project on the corset focuses on fashion, fertility, and fiction in nineteenth-century France.
Chris Rogers, Three-Year Faculty Fellow (2023 – 2026)
Chris Rogers (Associate Professor, Linguistics) earned a B.A. in Spanish, an M.A. in Linguistics, and a Ph.D. in Linguistics (U of U) focusing on language documentation, description, typology, and the historical implications of each. In his research, he concentrates on the value of linguistic diversity both globally and individually focusing primarily on the indigenous languages of Central and South America (though he has worked with other language groups and hopes to collaborate with more communities around the world). In his teaching, Chris insists that his students “get dirty with data” instead of keeping it at arm’s length, by immersing themselves in the practice of doing linguistic analysis. Currently, his favorite things to talk about are gamification, information packaging, precategoriality, semantic alignment, and objective characterizations of linguistic diversity within a community’s linguistic ecosystem.
If he isn’t in his office, Chris is probably in the backcountry or dancing with his wife, Sarah.
Stephen Tuttle, Three-Year Faculty Fellow (2023 – 2026)
Stephen Tuttle is an associate professor of English. He teaches courses in creative writing and American literature, with scholarly interests in the short story, microfiction, and prose poetry. Among other assignments, he has served on the Faculty Advisory Committee and as associate chair of English.
Anna-Lisa Halling, One-Year Faculty Fellow
Anna-Lisa Halling received her PhD from Vanderbilt University and joined the Spanish and Portuguese Department in 2016. She teaches courses on Portuguese literature and culture, including Camões, Gil Vicente, Women Writers, and Luso-Brazilian Theatre Production. Her research centers on early modern Iberian literature, particularly texts by secular and religious women, and encompasses theatre criticism, spatial theory, and feminist theory. Anna-Lisa has published on the works of Soror Maria do Céu, Soror Violante do Céu, and Dona Joanna Theodora de Souza, among others. She also co-founded the More than Muses online database (morethanmuses.byu.edu) with Valerie Hegstrom and Jeremy Browne. Her current research project is a co-authored (also with Valerie Hegstrom) book-length study of early modern convent drama in Spain and Portugal.
Jamie Horrocks, One-Year Faculty Fellow
Jamie Horrocks is Associate Professor of English. Her undergraduate BYU degree in Interdisciplinary Humanities/English still inspires her love of nineteenth-century British literary and visual culture. Jamie’s teaching and scholarship focus on Victorian literature and cultural studies. Her Humanities Center Fellowship project grew out of her interest in nineteenth century book history and examines the evolution of letterpress design practices during the design reform movement in Victorian Britain. Research for this has allowed her to study British carpets, wallpaper, textiles, pottery, tilework, and the steam-powered machines that made them, alongside literature debating the aesthetics of industrial manufactures—all of which she loves. Jamie also enjoys Utah’s beautiful outdoors, and tries to end most days working in her garden.
Gabbie Schwartz, Humanities Center Intern & Undergraduate Fellow
Gabbie Schwartz is the 2023-2024 BYU Humanities Center Intern. She is currently a senior at BYU majoring in English and Philosophy. When she is not borrowing from literary studies to enhance her philosophical interests, she is inevitably borrowing from philosophy to enhance her interests in literary studies. As such, she hopes to attend graduate school in English where she will work at the intersection between British Romanticist literature and philosophy, especially philosophy of agency. While at BYU she has had the opportunity to present at symposiums, publish papers, participate in the Y Fiction Club as president, work at the Research and Writing center as a tutor and student administrator, and intern at the Wordsworth Trust in the UK. Outside of her studies, you can typically find her trying to catch up on all her favorite shows/movies, listening to Hozier on repeat, playing Pokemon Go, and working on her painting and drawing skills. So far, she is especially confident in her ability to draw pretty cool stick figures.
Luke Beckstrand, Undergraduate Fellow
Luke Beckstrand is a Senior at BYU majoring in Linguistics and minoring in Cultural Dance. Though he was born in California, he’s lived in Utah most of his life and claims it as his home. Living close to the mountains has given him a love of exploring them—some of his favorite memories include hiking, backpacking, and camping up Little Cottonwood Canyon or at the summit of Mount Timpanogos. Throughout his life he’s always enjoyed reading, especially such epics as the Lord of the Rings and Brandon Sanderson’s Stormlight Archive. He’s also a passionate writer and has completed over a dozen novels and self-published several of them. Outside of the world of books, Luke can be found performing with BYU’s Cultural Dance teams or having fun sword fighting with the Knights of the Y—the BYU sword fighting club that he helped found in 2021. At BYU, he has enjoyed working as the Student Administrator overseeing multilingual activities at the Research and Writing Center, as well as being a TA for several multilingual courses and participating in a research group focused on multilingual tutoring. He hopes to improve multilingual students’ experiences in university settings and is excited to explore careers in that field.
Emma Belnap, Undergraduate Fellow
Emma Belnap is a senior at Brigham Young University. Though she was born and raised in Dallas, Texas, she has come to consider Phoenix, Arizona home since her family moved there twelve years ago. Growing up, she was obsessed with art and history, a sentiment which led her to major in Art History. After graduating with her undergraduate degree, Emma plans to continue her art history studies by pursuing her PhD. Her research interests include eighteenth- and nineteenth-century European art, gender studies, and post-colonial studies. In her free time, Emma enjoys reading, running, attending museums, traveling, and learning about new people and cultures.
Ivy Griffiths, Undergraduate Fellow
Ivy Griffiths is the oldest of five children, with three younger brothers and one sister. She grew up moving around the United States but when asked says she’s from Colorado. She enjoys playing the piano, painting, collaging, hiking, playing board and card games, and spending time with her friends. She is currently studying Art History and Curatorial Studies at BYU with a minor in art. Ivy hopes to attend a graduate school in England after she completes her Bachelors Degree and either become an art museum curator or a university professor. She loves learning about culture and the human experience through art and looks forward to sharing what she knows with others.
Ansley Morris, Undergraduate Fellow
Ansley Morris is a senior majoring in English with a minor in Interdisciplinary Humanities. She was born and raised in Gilbert, Arizona, where she visits often and spends the sunny afternoons playing tennis and pickle ball with her family. In high school, Ansley enjoyed reading and writing, but it wasn’t until her time at BYU that she discovered her love for the Humanities. Her studies in English often overlap with her minor and have led to her to present on topics like Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses at the 2022 Asian Studies Student Symposium and the role of music in Jane Austen film adaptations at the 2022 Humanities Student Symposium. During her sophomore year, she worked as an advertising assistant at The Daily Universe and has spent the last two semesters as a teaching assistant for IHUM 202, which she will continue in the fall. During her time off, Ansley loves to go to the beach and spend time in Sundance, reading, relaxing, and going on walks. She also loves to cook and bake birthday cakes for her best friends. The first book she ever fell in love with was Junie B. Jones Is a Party Animal and her all-time favorite read is The Little Prince.
Luka Romney, Undergraduate Fellow
Luka Romney grew up in the mountains outside of Salt Lake Valley, right along the pioneer emigration route. At BYU, they study Interdisciplinary Humanities and plan to graduate from the Honors Program. They are deeply invested in undergraduate research and have worked on projects for the Maxwell Institute, the Research and Writing Center’s multilingual writing tutorial, and BYU religion professor Dr. Rachel Cope. Their intellectual interests lie at the convergences between folk narratives in the Western US, environmental humanities, theories of memory and memorialization, questions of haunting and paranormal pop culture, and queer and feminist theory. Luka is deeply invested in student writing development between their time as a tutor at the Research and Writing Center, a TA for HONRS 320 (the Great Question Tutorial), and an editor and writer for Prodigal Press—an independent, student-run media collective based in Provo. Outside of academic pursuits, they love to ride their bike anywhere and everywhere, especially along the Provo River Parkway. They spend as much time as possible up in the Wasatch Mountains and have a goal to climb every peak in the range over 11,000 ft. In the future, they have plans to study abroad for language study in Berlin, attend divinity school, and eventually become a published writer and academic.
Zach Stevenson, Undergraduate Fellow
Zach Stevenson is a senior at BYU pursuing a double major in American studies and French. He grew up in Northern Virginia as the fourth of seven children and served a mission in the south of France and Switzerland between 2019 and 2021. After completing his undergraduate degree at BYU, he hopes to pursue a PhD in English with an emphasis in American literature, with the goal of becoming a university professor and a contributing writer at The New Yorker or The New York Review of Books. In his free time, Zach enjoys reading (primarily contemporary American fiction and journalistic nonfiction), writing essays, watching movies at the International Cinema and spending time outside with friends and family.